There is so much to do at the start of the school year. Yet, there is one thing many teachers overlook and it is something that will save you a lot of work later on.
I’m talking about report cards!
Love them or hate them, they are part of every teacher’s life and they take a great deal of time to write.
You can make writing your report cards quicker and easier by completing one simple action right now!
You need to match your assessment tasks to your report card.
If you are like most teachers, you plan assessment while you plan your units.
However, writing report cards will be much easier if you begin at the end – and, in this case, that end is the reporting system that your school uses.
How To Match Assessment Tasks To Report Cards
Matching assessment tasks to report cards is quick and easy. Simply follow these two steps.
- Start by becoming familiar with your school’s report card headings and rating scales
- For each heading, decide what assessment tasks you will use to make decisions
For example, a few years ago, I taught at a school that had report card headings something like this.
You may agree or disagree with these headings and rating scales, just as you may agree or disagree with your own school’s reporting system. That is not the point of this article.
What I want to do is help you write those report cards quickly and easily. To do this, you look at each subheading and select suitable ways to assess your students’ achievement in those areas.
In this case, I would start by deciding how I would go about assessing students’ fluency. I decided to use timed readings using a selected passage from a class novel Once. I chose to do this assessment at the end of the semester so that I captured all the progress students had made.
Of course, I would be informally assessing reading fluency every time I listened to a student read. I would use this assessment to give feedback and to inform my teaching. However, for reporting purposes, it is better to assess your students as close as possible to the reporting period.
Assessing genres largely involves examining the textual structure and genre specific devices used by students in their writing. In this case, I would use samples of unassisted writing together with a device-specific rubric, such as this one. I would need to collect more than one sample of writing as students will be learning more than one genre – in this case, I would collect both a narrative and a persuasive piece.
At this point, it is important to note that you can use one assessment task to cover multiple headings. For example, you could use running records to assess both fluency and expression. You could also use samples of unassisted writing to assess grammar and spelling.
Here is my own sample assessment plan for all the above.
Going One Step Further
Call me old-fashioned but I still recommend that every teacher has a mark book.
To make your life easier, you should organise your mark book per your report card headings.
Going One More Step
The school’s report card should reflect the Year 7 achievement standard for English found in the Australian Curriculum, as well as local choices.
The above report card could be improved by assessing things such as students’ ability to understand different perspectives on the novel Once.